Manchester City fans will today be fondly remembering their great manager Malcolm Allison, the coach who helped the club to the most successful spell in the clubs history. Allison passed away earlier today aged 83.
The news will bring real sadness to not only City fans but to football fans in general. ‘Big Mal’ as he was known, managed 11 clubs during his career including a successful spell in Portugal that saw him win the league with Sporting Lisbon.
But it was during his time in Manchester that Allison achieved his biggest success. Coming in an assistant to Joe Mercer in 1965, Alison would pay a big part in the clubs emergence as a powerhouse in the late sixties/early seventies.
City would go on to win the Second Division title in 1966 and the First Division two years later. They would also win the FA Cup in the 1969 and a League and European Cup Winners Cup double in the following season.
While it would be Mercer that would be the figurehead of the managerial duo Allison would be the energy behind the success. His training regimes revolutionised football in a way that can still be seen today, and management of City stars such as Colin Bell, Francis Lee and Mike Summerbee was probably the key behind the success the club achieved.
Summerbee himself has paid tribute to his former boss. He said: “Malcolm changed football by making us train like athletes. In that respect he was ahead of his time and he was a great tactician as well.
“He was also one of the lads – in effect he was the 12th player from the sidelines but he knew how to crack the whip and we respected that. He was a great psychologist; he knew how to handle me and how to get more out of me.”
After his success at City, Allison would go on to manage numerous clubs but would eventually return to the club he loved in 1979 after being saddened by their demise. Unfortunately he would not be able to replicate his previous success and his tenure would be brief.
But this spell will do little to dampen the admiration for Allison in the game. The one of a kind coach left a real legacy in Manchester that nobody has since managed to replicate. In the modern era, City have the funds to go out and achieve similar success, but whether a present day manager will have the same respect as Allison is commanded is very unlikely.